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Coulthard given fresh boost
December 02, 2004 19:25 IST
Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz has given a fresh boost to David Coulthard's hopes of staying in Formula One next year.
After telling Reuters last week that the out-of-work Scot was still of interest to his team, the Austrian energy drink billionaire praised Coulthard in British weekly Autosport magazine on Thursday.
"I personally believe that he's one of the brightest characters in F1," said Mateschitz during a flying visit to a team test at the Barcelona circuit last week.
"What our team needs now is experience, because it's difficult for us to have two rookies only.
"If we look at the drivers who are totally available, DC (Coulthard) is on the very, very top because there are only two drivers who have proved to be both fast and experienced; Those are Nick Heidfeld and David Coulthard.
"When you talk about the second cockpit at Red Bull, experience and the ability to develop a car further, then DC is on the top of this list," added Mateschitz.
"I'm sure the team will talk to him and I believe that he's not only a good-looking driver but also a great racer."
Mateschitz bought the Jaguar team from Ford last month and has renamed it Red Bull Racing.
The team has yet to sign any drivers for 2005 but Austrian Christian Klien and Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi are strong contenders, having been backed by Red Bull for much of their careers. Both are testing with the team.
German Heidfeld is testing with Williams, who are also looking for a race driver.
Coulthard, 33, has won more races than any active Formula One driver other than Ferrari's seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher but lost his place at McLaren to Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya.
He had been talking to Jaguar but was considered out of the running for a place at Red Bull after Mateschitz was quoted as saying in a German newspaper that he was "not part of our selection."
The Scot's manager, the former driver and television commentator Martin Brundle, would not rule out the possibility of a deal."We're exploring all opportunities," he told the Guardian newspaper. "And Red Bull Racing would unquestionably be one of them."
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